In recent weeks, after receiving hundreds of complaints from customers who own thousands of hides that are caught in the bankruptcy proceeding, Rinerson issued a formal apology and claimed he was “heartbroken this happened.”

Rinerson and his bankruptcy lawyer held a meeting for creditors at the federal bankruptcy court in Minneapolis, where the business owner again extended his apology and promised that the hides would soon be returned to hunters.

Sources say that Uber Tanning had more than 700 clients, all of whom would hunt and kill various animals and then ship the hides to Rinerson to be tanned and turned into a wide range of consumer goods.

For more than a century, Uber Tanning’s owners turned raw hides from large animals such as deer, moose, and elk into items such as gloves, gun cases, clothing, and other accessories.

For several decades, the company accepted hides from all across North America, but a recent flood severely damaged its only factory in Owatonna, Minnesota. According to Rinerson, the damage wasn’t covered by insurance, and he and his wife could not afford the repairs, so they filed for bankruptcy protection.

To make matters worse, Rinerson reportedly could not afford to notify his customers by mail, since a mass mailing would have cost roughly $1,500, so thousands of hides were left in limbo while the hunters were unaware of the company’s financial troubles.

Rinerson, however, plans to begin returning hides to customers within the next two weeks, and sources say that an outside investor has promised to offer extra funding to allow the tannery business to start its operations once again.